The California Public Utilities Commission deferred acting again on what\u2019s being called a \u201cnovel\u201d decision that would call on electric ratepayers to subsidize water ratepayers. At issue is a proposed decision that would pare back a rate increase for water provided on Catalina Island by Southern California Edison from 85 percent to 31.4 percent with the help of an $8.9 million cross-subsidy by electric ratepayers throughout the utility\u2019s territory. The commission postponed deciding the issue this week without comment, making it the third delay. The first scheduled vote on the resulting decision was in June, but for unspecified reasons it was delayed until July and again put off this week. Under the proposal, Edison electric customers each would contribute 9 cents\/month to subsidize the utility\u2019s public water supply system on the resort island for 12 months. As a result, each of the utility\u2019s millions of power customers would pay a total of $1.08 for capital improvements to the water system for Catalina. The decision encapsulates a settlement in the water system rate case under which the cross-subsidy Edison first proposed was cut in half. The Office of Ratepayer Advocates initially opposed the cross-subsidy\u2014before capitulating\u2014even though Edison noted that its electric ratepayers who visit the resort are major water users and therefore benefit from improving the island\u2019s water system. The office instead proposed that the commission institute a $3 water surcharge on the price of a ferry ride to the island to directly target only those who benefit from the water system. Without the cross-subsidy, the island\u2019s 2,000 permanent residents can\u2019t afford to pay for the improvements alone, the utility maintained. Edison notes that it has had to replace water pipes, a major water well pump house, and restore watershed area damaged by a 2007 wildfire on the island at shareholder expense and now needs to recover that money through higher rates. Under the decision, the average monthly water bill for Catalina residents would rise from about $74 to $97. Edison shareholders also would get dinged under the decision with a $2.5 million capital disallowance on upgrades to the system already performed. The utility initially sought to increase its Catalina water rates in 2010. The settlement underlying this week\u2019s proposed decision was first advanced in August 2013.